Help! My Baby is Teething!
Five Facts About Baby Teeth That Every Parent Should Know
There’s nothing cuter than those first little teeth popping through your baby’s gums... and nothing more confusing than surviving the process of cutting them. Teething is the phenomena that accompanies the growth of your infant’s first set of teeth and it’s also a pretty big part of the parenting journey for the first few years. The world famous fussiness and the host of mysterious teething symptoms that come with those tiny teeth can make life hard for your whole household. But, the more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to keep your cool through all the drool. Here are five facts about your baby’s teeth that every parent should to know:
Fact #1 • Smile! Your Baby is Born With 20 Teeth!
No, she’s probably not going to grin at you with a full set of pearly whites right there in the delivery room, but your little’s teeth are fully formed by the time she’s born. There are 20 teeth ready and waiting to emerge just below the gum line. There are a few lovely littles might surprise their parents with a natal tooth present at birth. Natal teeth are adorable, but according to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, they may need to be removed if the tooth is loose or if they cause trouble with feeding.
Fact #2 • There’s a Teething Timeline? Says Who?
For most nuggets the first official nibbler shows up between 6 and 12 months of age, but like all of the other milestones, there’s a very wide range of normal. Parents shouldn't worry too much about needing to make a birthday cake smoothie when the end of year one rolls around, but if your little is still rocking the gummy look by age 18 months, the AAP recommends a visit to the dentist. Most children will have their full set of baby teeth in place by the time they turn three.
Fact #3 • Teething Bites But … Not Too Hard
Cutting teeth isn’t all fun and games, but it also isn’t as terrible as us parents sometimes make it out to be. According to a study by the Departments of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, mild teething symptoms such as increased biting, drooling, gum rubbing, sucking, irritability, wakefulness, facial rash, decreased appetite for solids, and a mild rise in body temperature can all occur around the time (normally within an 8 day window) when a tooth erupts. More serious symptoms, including congestion, sleep disturbance, loose stools, vomiting and a fever over 102° are reportedly not associated with teething and may warrant an afternoon adventure to your pediatrician.
Fact #4 • Double Trouble
Misery loves company and so do molars! Teeth usually arrive in pairs. So once that first little pearl pops up, take a breath and brace yourself for the next one that will be making an appearance shortly. This chart shows a “typical” teething timeline (remember, it can vary!) so you can stock up on Infants’ Tylenol … and wine.
Fact #5 • When It Comes To Cures, Chews Carefully
When our littles are hurting it’s normal to want to help, but parents need to use caution when deciding which teething remedies they should use to help manage teething issues. Do your research and always ask your doctor if you aren’t 100% sure if it a good choice for your baby.
The FDA advises against homeopathic teething tablets after a lab analysis revealed elevated levels of belladonna, a toxic substance found in some homeopathic teething tablets which has been reported to have adverse effects on some young children.
Some other safe ways to provide relief include:
Gum Massage: The pressure from massaging their gums can help relieve some of their discomfort (Watch this YouTube video to find out how to give your little a gum massage. )
Frozen Washcloth: Freezing a damp washcloth for them to chew on. (But do not use frozen teething rings. The Mayo Clinic reports that they are a safety hazard.)
Homemade Ice Pops: There are endless possibilities for ice pop ingredients that will take your little one’s mind off of his teething traumas. Check out this link for some good ideas: 10 Baby Food Popsicles Sure to Soothe a Teething Tot
Hard Veggies: Carrots and cucumbers are perfectly sized for gnawing. A hard frozen carrot might be just the ticket! Just be sure to keep a close eye on the status of that vegetable! You don’t want any veggie chunks breaking off and creating a choking hazard.
And last not not least…
Over-the-Counter Pain Remedies: If your little person is extra miserable then you can try Infants’ Tylenol (acetaminophen), Children’s Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen) as a way to ease pain and give mom and dad some peace of mind… and possibly some well-deserved sleep.
For more information on all things teething visit the American Dental Association’s awesome online resource HERE.
And to all the Mamas, Papas, and Peanuts surviving your own teething timelines —
You. Got. This!